19 Feb 2021

Roaming Rodney the ITM cat finds a new home in Whanganui

From Checkpoint, 6:23 pm on 19 February 2021

Could this be the purrrfect ending to the tale of roaming Rodney aka the abandoned ITM cat?

It seems he has finally been found and given a forever home after going missing for about four months.

Last year things got a bit feral after a worker in the building supply store in Marton dumped Rodney in the countryside because he'd allegedly become a nuisance after 10 years as the store moggy.

A search party was launched, weeks passed and Rodney was eventually found wandering a local farm.

The now famous Rodney was given a new identity and relocated to New Plymouth, but en-route to his new home a cage failure resulted in him doing a runner.

Rescuer Beverly Dowling took up the search for the famous feline once again, leading to a happy ending and a happy new home for Rodney.

“We found him not too far from where he went missing in Spotswood in Taranaki, in New Plymouth,” Dowling said.

“We knew that he was attracted to men in hi-vis shirts and sweaty socks, so we knew we were looking at industrial areas, we knew he was a good mouser and cats would look for high ground.”

After some investigations, Rodney was spotted on CCTV roaming around a company opposite Paritutu Rock in New Plymouth.

However, finding Rodney wasn’t a one woman job – Dowling had a whole team behind her in the community helping.

“It's taken a collaboration of rescuers, a handful of crazy dedicated cat ladies, the support of the local community, technology with CCTV trail cams,” she said. “It’s taken the psychology of what cat's are like when they are misplaced and information from people who knew Rodney as to what he was like as a cat and what he likes.”

Knowing what he liked turned out to be key to the rescue – Rodney was particularly partial to fried chicken.

“Fried chicken is used quite a lot to entice feral cats or cats that haven't really had a good snack,” she said. “The smell of fried chicken in the traps, literally the smell lingers on the trap and it's just like magic.”

Following his rescue, Rodney has moved to a new home on a lifestyle block in Whanganui, complete with his own room with a patio and view over the property.

Dowling was hopeful he wouldn’t be tempted to go on yet another adventure after that.

“I do think that trip to Taranaki was basically enough to cut the apron strings from ITM I hope,” she said.

“I do know that at ITM he did occasionally roam, he'd go away for little adventures, so we knew that of Rodney, but he's going to be fitted with a GPS tracker collar.

“Once he's comfortable there obviously the GPS tracker will just keep a bit of an eye on him so I don't have to go out in the middle of the night trapping with kids doing Tokyo Drift car stuff all around me and things like that.”